Medicine of the Future? 3D-Printed Pills Are Here

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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This week the FDA approved the very first 3D-printed medication. 3D printing has taken the world by storm, and the pharmaceutical industry is getting in on this innovative technology.

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals has taken seizure medications to the next level with Spirtam. The active ingredient of Spirtam, known as levetiracetam, is available as a generic and also currently used in other popular seizure meds including Keppra, Keppra XR, and Elepsia XR (approved March 2015).

How is the 3D-printed pill made?

Spirtam will be made using thin layers of powdered medication spread on top of one another and bonded together by patterns of aqueous fluid.

Why does this make Spirtam different from the other prescription levetiracetam medications?

The 3D printing process will allow Spirtam to have a unique absorbent structure that allows even high strengths of the medication to be quickly dissolved with just a sip of liquid.

High-dose medications often require hard tablet or capsule formulations that must be swallowed with liquid. This can be difficult for some people, including those who experience seizures.

The development of Aprecia’s Spirtam using their ZipDose technology will make it easier to take and swallow the pill.

How exactly is Spirtam taken?

The new ZipDose technology used to make Spirtam allows the medication to dissolve in your mouth in less than 10 seconds, even for high-dose medications up to 1,000 mg. You don’t need to swallow a tablet or capsule to get the full dose. This wasn’t possible without 3D printing.

When will Spirtam be in pharmacies?

Spirtam is set to be available in the first quarter of 2016.

What are the side effects of Spirtam?

The most common side effects include sleepiness, weakness, dizziness and infection.

Want more information?

You can check out the offical Spirtam page here, or the manufacturer website here.

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